Saturday, 26 February 2011

Relief

The doctors have confirmed that yesterday's diagnosis was incorrect, and although Grandpa J's symptoms could still be that of some form of cancer it's such a relief to know it's not to the degree they initially thought. We are still awaiting on further tests... Thank you to everyone who's been praying!

Spud and I have just spent a week with my family, and we go back today. I dread returning to work and I still believe I need to get out of there as soon as possible. When I arrived at my parents' house a week ago today I was very poorly indeed, and they were shocked by my appearance. I had a heavy cold, and was suffering from stress and extreme exhaustion. It's taken me a whole week to recover.

However, my rota for the coming week is significantly better (let's hope it stays that way) and I have just a fortnight to go until my next week of annual leave. So provided nothing goes wrong, it should be a fairly gentle start.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Frail

I consider myself a very blessed person because for the last twenty-two years I've had all four grandparents around, and for fifteen years a great-grandmother too. However, this all looks set to change in a very short space of time. 

Grandad Sparky has dementia, and over the last decade we've watched his gradual deterioration. He doesn't know any of us any more. He drifts in and out of consciousness, either anchored in an armchair or in bed, clutching a baby's blanket and a soft toy lamb. We thought the end had come the other day when he had a particularly violent fit, but when we went to see him yesterday he was much improved and had a little more colour to his cheeks. Because I live 300 miles away every visit could be my last. Spud had the idea of taking some photographs. 




Grandpa J was also admitted to hospital this week. After several misdiagnoses, the doctors have now raised the 'c' word (i.e. cancer) along with the words 'prostate' and 'bones'. Although this is yet to be confirmed, things are not looking good, and should the diagnosis be correct then he could have only a matter of weeks or months. 

He is an old man, and has led a long and healthy life, and he's also a devout Christian, so we believe that death isn't the end, but it's still a lot to come to terms with, and everything has happened so suddenly. Please pray particularly for Grandpa J, my father and Granny J. It is painful for us all to watch a beloved man grow so frail in such a short space of time. This is going to be a very tough time. 

Monday, 14 February 2011

Everything Happens for a Reason

Spud is my first and only love so far, but I endured six years of crushes and broken hearts before we found each other. For the most part, the crushes and broken hearts were at my end. From the age of twelve, my deepest desire was to get a boyfriend. My biggest fear was that I would die alone and unmarried. My quest to find true love was a long one, and I had a lot of learning to do along the way. 

I remember my first crush all too well. Because his surname came before mine in the register we normally sat next to each other, because most of our teachers adopted the policy of seating us alphabetically. I was lucky. He was just about the only boy to treat me with kindness and respect throughout high school, and perhaps that was why I fell for him. The rest of the boys at school had visual impairments in that they either couldn't see beyond my outward appearance (which wasn't anything special), or they couldn't see me at all. It was only later when my feelings for him were nothing more than friendship, that I told him how I had once felt about him. We are still very good friends. 

That crush lasted throughout my first two years at high school. For my final two years at high school I developed small, but brief crushes. I remember, particularly vividly, almost having the chance to hold hands with one of my crushes for a role play we'd been set, but I bottled out. I got another person in my group to do it instead, because I was so embarrassed. Thankfully I got over him pretty quickly. 

During my last few weeks at high school I developed what I consider to be my final crush. This continued into sixth-form college where, with the encouragement of several friends, it flourished along with my self-confidence. Having missed so many opportunities, I decided to act on impulse and send him an anonymous Valentines Day card, which I later owned up for. Unfortunately, I realised a few months later that he wasn't the right person for me, but this was badly time as he'd just realised he had feelings for me, and asked me out. I turned him down, feeling terrible for leading him on, but amazingly this experience brought us closer as friends. 

I didn't know back then that only a few months later I would meet the man who was meant for me. That summer I grew so much closer to God, and realised the time had come to surrender every single one of my desires, hopes and dreams, including that of finding a boyfriend. Instead, I prayed that God would find me the right person at the right time, vowing to wait patiently, or accept my fate if this was not a part of God's plan for me. Less than a fortnight later, my prayer was answered, although I did not know for certain at the time. I exercised extreme caution, praying carefully and always looking to God, but everything unfolded smoothly. 

I no longer regard all of my previous crushes as 'missed opportunities'. I believe I learned a lot during those years prior to Spud, and all of those experiences have contributed to the person that I am today. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I can honestly say that it has all worked out for the best!

Happy Valentines Day to you all! <3

Friday, 11 February 2011

Feeling Loved

I was going to post this yesterday, but was completely out of energy when Spud left last night, and still haven't really recovered. 

I think if it had been my way, I would've spent my birthday curled up in a quiet corner reading short stories by Katherine Mansfield, but Spud and my landlady, Treasure, were eager to make a fuss of me. I woke up fairly early, but remained in bed for an hour or so, before getting dressed and going downstairs for breakfast. Treasure wished me happy birthday and gave me a hug. She had placed a big, square shaped parcel by my armchair, which turned out to be a nice firm cushion. 

Spud rang me midway through breakfast to wish me happy birthday and ask what time I would be round. I was actually a bit later than I told him because the postman arrived with a bundle of cards. Spud had planned a waterside picnic, but unfortunately it was raining so we opted for a lazy day at home, watching romantic films, like 'P.S. I Love You'. 

Spud gave me an assortment of presents, not all of which were wrapped because he'd spent about half an hour wrapping one of them and ran out of time. I made sure I appreciated his efforts before carefully peeling away the sellotape and smoothing out the paper so it could be reused. My main gift was a health grill which we cooked sausages on for lunch. Spud also bought me lots of other lovely things, including three jigsaw puzzles. 

We went back to mine for my birthday tea. I felt bad as we were slightly later than I'd intended, and Treasure had already started eating her dinner. She'd cooked scampi, chips and peas, having consulted me a few days in advance about what I'd like. She also produced a bowl of strawberries for dessert and a chocolate birthday cake! I think she quite enjoyed making a fuss of me. 

Spud stayed until quite late as we started one of the jigsaw puzzles he gave me. It turned out to be the most difficult as the main picture is made up of thousands of smaller images. We have made a good start though having spent most of today working on it too. My parents rang in the evening to wish me happy birthday, and I also spoke to both of my brothers. 

And I think everything caught up on me because by about 10pm I was fighting to keep my eyes open, and much as I hate parting with Spud, I was slightly relieved when he said it was time for him to go home, because I knew I couldn't stay awake for much longer. 

So it was a quiet birthday really, but perfect. And I received several birthday messages by text, and more than fifty birthday wishes through Facebook, which made me feel very loved. Thank you to everyone who made it special. Particularly Dearest Friend, who rang me today. And Treasure. And Spud. 

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Old

I was planning on staying up until midnight tonight and opening the parcel my parents sent me, but I honestly don't think I have the stamina. I must be getting old!

Mind you, my team leader told me the other day that I'm lucky to be turning 22 - she recently celebrated her 29th birthday. 

Not that I have any issues concerning age. I am still generally thought to be 16 by total strangers. I am still frequently asked which school I go to. It's so much fun telling people that I'm a Senior Support Worker and have a first class degree. 

And even when I do start to show my age, I'll wear my wrinkles and grey hairs with pride!

Anyway, my day isn't until tomorrow. Today my prospective sister-in-law, C, is celebrating her birthday. Many happy returns Sis!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Thoughts On Waking

When I was rudely awoken by my alarm clock this morning at some unearthly hour, I thought I was in my own room, and it was only when I rolled to my left (rather than my right) to switch off my alarm that I realised I was in the staff bedroom at work. As I jabbed the 'off' button, bringing an end to the intrusive blare, my heart sank as those familiar feelings of dread began to surface. But then I remembered all that had happened the day before, and that was all it took to diminish those negative feelings completely. All this happened in a matter of seconds, and the ensuing calm that followed my sudden revelation was the most amazing thing. I had the strength to continue, and for the next two hours I whirled around the house, ensuring that everything was in order when my shift finished at 9am. 

After attending holy communion, I went to Spud's. We spent the day at a lovely seaside town, eating lunch on the pier and offering our crumbs to a rather hopeful starling, perching just feet away on the railing opposite where we sat (how I regretted leaving my camera at home!) We visited the museum, and then the shops. It was the most beautiful day and although it was cold, the wind had died down and the sun was out from dawn to dusk. I loved the way the sunlight played on our surroundings, particularly when driving home at sundown, and the trees we passed were silhouetted against the sky, which was a multitude of colours. 

When I got home I unpacked my 'sleep-in' bag, and for the first time in weeks I put it away in my wardrobe, rather than leaving it out on the spare bed as I have become accustomed to doing. I played my music and drank tea while I tidied, and then I enjoyed a soak in the bath, trying to remember the last time I felt this relaxed...

(Four consecutive days of blogging! Not bad, eh?) 

And finally, happy birthday to my daddy!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Extraordinary Day

Change like secrets in the wind
I hear the whispers madame butterfly...

Who would've guessed on my life's journey
I could find my way through this extraordinary day

Delta Goodrem - Extraordinary Day

I honestly didn't believe I'd make it through today. I was set so many impossible tasks at work that I felt like the miller's daughter in Rumplestiltskin, who was set the task of spinning a bale of straw into gold. But as I was fighting back the tears, I prayed about it, and who should come through for me? Not Rumplestiltskin, but God. Every one of my prayers was answered today. 

Firstly, I thoroughly engaged with the tasks I'd been set and managed to deal with every one of them as best as I could. Secondly, my client was as good as gold. She hasn't been any trouble all day (which isn't always the case). And finally I had my second supervision since starting, and my team leader had some very good news for me. 

She expressed gratitude for all that I had done - the extra hours and all the hard work I've put in - and then told me that from next month I should only have to do my contracted hours, because two of our service users are leaving, and we will gain at least two new staff. 

I was quite overcome by relief. Something lifted from me and I've felt light-hearted all evening. I was practically dancing around my client's house as I did the chores. I didn't expect to see an end any time soon. I didn't expect my way out would take any other form than that of a new job. But now I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I've snatched the ray of hope on offer, and I feel more uplifted than I've felt in a long time. 

So I want to tell you now, that whatever difficulties you face, try and endure them as best as you can. God came through for me, and he'll come through for you too. And you'll be all the stronger for it. 

Sunday, 6 February 2011

On This Day...

...two years ago, Spud got down on one knee in the snow... And...well...you know what happened next :-)


Saturday, 5 February 2011

Eighteen Months

Spud and I are now into the final eighteen months leading up to our wedding day. It feels like we've been waiting forever, because we decided we wanted to aim for marriage even before we started going out. We even worked out a date! And when we got together, three and a half years ago, the anticipation began. For the last year or so I've been counting down until our wedding, day by day. 

We booked the wedding venue in the summer, but that's just about all we've done so far, although we've pretty much worked everything out in our heads. Now finally we've made the first move towards making the plans and preparations. We've started looking at photographers and caterers and it's all so exciting! 

I feel like I've spent the last few years waiting - firstly, to meet Spud, and then to actually move closer to him. That's almost five years of waiting. I can't wait until we can begin our life together as a married couple, but it seems like there are still so many hurdles to conquer before our big day. Firstly, Spud needs to find a job and I'm desperate to find a new job, and secondly, we want a mortgage and a house that we can move into immediately after the wedding. I've been waiting so long that I'm raring to go!